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Getting a divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, but it’s important to understand the necessary steps and requirements to make the process as smooth as possible. If you are considering getting divorced in the state of Georgia, there are specific steps that must be taken to legally end your marriage.

Firstly, you must meet the residency requirement, which means either you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Georgia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Once this requirement is met, you can file for divorce with the Superior Court of the county in which you or your spouse resides.

Filing for divorce will require submitting a petition, which outlines the reasons for the divorce, and paying a filing fee. The next steps will depend on whether or not your spouse contests the divorce or agrees to an uncontested divorce. In either case, it’s important to seek legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

Filing for Divorce in Georgia

If you are planning to get a divorce in Georgia, you must first know the process of filing for divorce. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Meet the Residency Requirements: To file for a divorce in Georgia, either one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. Additionally, the divorce must be filed in the county where either spouse resides.
  2. Gather Necessary Information: Prior to filing for divorce, gather all relevant information including marital assets, debts, expenses, income, and all other financial documents. It is highly advisable to seek legal counsel before proceeding so that you can prepare your case and ensure that your rights are protected.
  3. File the Divorce Petition: The first step in the divorce process is to file a divorce petition with the Georgia Superior Court. The person who files for divorce is known as the “Petitioner,” while the other spouse is referred to as the “Respondent.” The Petitioner must complete the petition, file it with the court, and have it served on the Respondent.
  4. Serve the Respondent: The Respondent must be served with the divorce petition, and a copy of the petition must be served to the Respondent by a law enforcement official or a private process server. Service is critical because it provides the Respondent with notice of the divorce proceedings and the opportunity to respond.
  5. Wait for Respondent to Respond: Once the Respondent is served, he or she has 30 days to respond. If the Respondent fails to respond, the Petitioner has the option of obtaining a default judgment.
  6. Negotiate Divorce Settlement: The parties then enter into negotiations, either with or without lawyers, in order to come to an equitable and fair settlement. This settlement must include all issues related to property division, child custody, spousal support, and child support.
  7. Attend Final Hearing: If the parties reach a settlement, the final step is to attend a final hearing where a judge approves the agreement and grants the divorce. If there is no agreement, the case goes to trial where a judge decides on all the outstanding issues.

In summary, filing for divorce in Georgia involves meeting residency requirements, gathering necessary information, filing the divorce petition and serving it on the Respondent, waiting for a response, negotiating a settlement, and attending a final hearing. It is recommended to seek legal advice in order to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in Georgia, either spouse must meet the residency requirements. One spouse must have been a resident of Georgia for at least six months before filing for divorce. This means that at least one partner must have lived in Georgia for six months or more before filing.

The residency requirement must be met before filing the divorce petition. The courts take residency very seriously, and it is essential for the spouse filing for divorce to abide by this rule.

If a spouse does not meet the residency requirement, he/she cannot file for divorce in Georgia, even if their spouse meets the criteria. They will have to wait until they have lived in the state for six months before filing.

It is important to note that the six-month residency requirement applies to both military and civilian residents of Georgia. There are no exceptions to this rule. Therefore, if one spouse is in the military, they must have been stationed in Georgia for six months to meet the residency requirement.

In cases where one spouse is a resident and the other is not, the resident spouse can file for divorce in Georgia. However, the out-of-state spouse must be properly served with the divorce papers, and the court must have jurisdiction over them.

In summary, to file for divorce in Georgia, at least one spouse must have been a resident for at least six months. The residency requirement is essential and cannot be overlooked. If not met, the court will not consider the divorce petition.

Grounds For Divorce in Georgia

When filing for divorce, it’s important to understand the legal reasons that can be used as grounds for divorce. Georgia recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.

No-fault divorce in Georgia can be granted on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means that the marriage is simply no longer working and there is no prospect of reconciliation. In other words, neither spouse needs to prove wrongdoing or fault to obtain a divorce.

Fault grounds for divorce in Georgia may be granted for reasons such as adultery, desertion, mental incapacity at the time of marriage, impotence at the time of marriage, conviction of a felony, cruel treatment, and habitual intoxication. It’s important to note that in order to obtain a divorce on fault grounds, the spouse seeking the divorce must be able to prove the fault grounds in court.

If the divorce is filed on the grounds of adultery, it’s important that the spouse filing the divorce has proof that the other spouse had sexual intercourse with someone outside the marriage. Proof may include witness testimony, photographs or videos, or admissions made by the other spouse.

If the divorce is filed on the grounds of desertion, the spouse seeking the divorce must prove that the other spouse left the marriage and has been gone for at least one year without any intention of returning.

It’s important to note that fault grounds may impact issues such as alimony and property division in the divorce settlement. Overall, it’s best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to determine the most appropriate grounds for your situation.

Filing for Divorce

Filing for divorce in Georgia is a relatively simple process, but it requires specific steps to be followed. Below are few essential steps that you need to follow to file for divorce in Georgia.

  1. Residency Requirement: To file for divorce in Georgia, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. Also, the divorce should be filed in the county where the defendant lives.
  2. Gather Information: You need to gather certain information, including your and your spouse’s full name, date of birth, social security number, and marriage date. Also, you need to provide your grounds for divorce – fault or no-fault.
  3. Complete the Forms: After gathering the necessary information, you need to complete the divorce forms. You can download the forms from the Georgia Judicial Branch website.
  4. File the Forms: Once you have completed the forms, you need to file them with the Superior Court Clerk’s Office in the county where your spouse lives. Along with the forms, you need to submit the filing fee, which varies from county to county.
  5. Serve Your Spouse: After filing the forms, you need to serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce papers. You can use a private process server or sheriff’s office to serve the papers.
  6. Wait for Response: After your spouse has been served, he/she has 30 days to respond. If they don’t respond, you can file a motion for default.
  7. Negotiate Settlement: If your spouse responds, you can negotiate a settlement of issues such as property division, child custody, and support. If you cannot reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial.

Serving Your Spouse

Serving your spouse is an important step in the divorce process in Georgia. It involves formally notifying them that you have filed for divorce and including them in the legal proceedings. Here are the steps to serve your spouse:

  1. Select a Method of Service: Georgia allows for several forms of service including personal service, service by a private process server, and service by certified mail. Personal service is the most common method and involves physically handing the divorce papers to your spouse.
  2. Fill Out the Paperwork: You will need to fill out the necessary paperwork for service, which includes the Summons, Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form, and Acknowledgement of Service and Waiver of Venue.
  3. File the Paperwork: Once you have completed the necessary paperwork, you must file it with the court where your case is pending. The court clerk will provide you with a case number and a date for your hearing.
  4. Serve Your Spouse: You must serve your spouse with a copy of the paperwork and a copy of the Petition for Divorce. If you choose personal service or service by a private process server, you must ensure that your spouse signs an Acknowledgment of Service. If you choose service by certified mail, your spouse must sign a Domestic Return Receipt.
  5. File Proof of Service: After your spouse has been served, you must file Proof of Service with the court. This document confirms that your spouse has been served and ensures that the case can proceed. If your spouse cannot be served, you may need to request additional time to attempt service or seek an alternate method of service.

It’s important to note that serving your spouse can be a sensitive and emotional process. If you are uncomfortable with serving your spouse, or if you anticipate that they may be uncooperative, we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice. An experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate the process of serving your spouse and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the divorce proceedings.

The Discovery Process

As part of the divorce process in Georgia, both parties are required to complete an inventory of all assets and liabilities, referred to as the discovery process. This is a critical step in the divorce process since it ensures that all assets are accounted for and that the final property settlement is fair and equitable.

The discovery process can be a bit of a daunting task. It involves submitting a variety of financial documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, and investment account statements. In addition to financial documents, both parties may need to provide information on any real estate property they own, valuations of family-owned businesses, and any other relevant assets or liabilities.

The discovery process can take several months, and it is essential to be meticulous and thorough when compiling the necessary information. Any discrepancies or failure to disclose assets can lead to serious legal consequences, such as fines or even criminal charges.

During the discovery process, it is also important to work with a qualified divorce attorney. An attorney can help guide you through the process and ensure that all necessary information is provided. They can also review any documents submitted by the other party for accuracy and completeness.

Settlement and Trial

After negotiating and attempting to resolve issues through mediation, the next step in finalizing a divorce in Georgia is either settling or going to trial.


A settlement is an agreement between both parties that resolves all issues related to the divorce, including property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support (alimony). Once a settlement is reached, it must be put into writing and signed by both parties and the judge to become legally binding.

If both parties are unable to come to a settlement agreement on their own, mediation may be required to help facilitate the process. It is important to have a skilled attorney present to help ensure your needs and interests are protected throughout the settlement negotiations.


If a settlement cannot be reached, the next step is to proceed to trial. During the trial, the judge will hear both sides of the case and make a final decision on all outstanding issues. This decision is final and legally binding, meaning that neither party can appeal or modify the court’s decision at a later date.

Trials can be emotionally and financially draining and may take several months to complete. It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can skillfully present your case to the judge and help you achieve a favorable outcome.

Understanding the settlement and trial process can help both parties navigate the divorce process with confidence and minimize potential delays and complications. A skilled attorney can guide you through these steps and advocate for your rights and interests to help ensure a smooth and successful resolution to your divorce.

Child Custody and Support

One of the most complex and sensitive issues in a divorce involving children is determining child custody and support. In Georgia, the court always determines custody based on what is in the best interests of the child, and both parents have an equal right to custody.

There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions about a child’s upbringing, such as education and healthcare. Physical custody refers to where the child lives and how much time they spend with each parent.

When it comes to child support, Georgia uses an “income shares” model that takes into account the income of both parents, as well as the number of children involved, to determine the amount of support needed. The court may also consider other factors such as the child’s needs and the standard of living the child is accustomed to.

If both parents are able to reach an agreement on custody and support, they can submit a parenting plan to the court for approval. However, if they cannot agree, the court will make the decision for them. In such cases, it is recommended to hire an attorney who can represent your interests and help you navigate the legal process.

It is important to note that custody and support orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or a relocation. However, any modifications must be approved by the court.

Overall, it is crucial to prioritize the needs and well-being of the child when going through a divorce, especially when it comes to custody and support. By working with the court and seeking assistance from a professional attorney, both parents can achieve a fair and equitable outcome that serves the best interests of their child.

Property Division

When going through a divorce in Georgia, one of the most critical aspects is dividing property. Georgia is an equitable distribution state, which means a judge will divide property in a fair, but not necessarily equal manner. This means that all marital property acquired during the marriage will be divided rather than individual property.

Before the property division process can begin, the marital property must be identified. This includes all assets and debts that were acquired or accrued during the marriage. Property can include anything from real estate, vehicles, and bank accounts to stock options and retirement plans.

Once the marital property is identified, it will be valued to determine the fair market value. This valuation can be done by the parties themselves or through professionals such as appraisers, accountants, or financial advisors. The goal is to establish the true value of each asset so that it can be divided appropriately between the parties.

After property has been identified and valued, it must be divided between the parties. The judge will consider several factors to determine a fair distribution, including the length of the marriage, each party’s financial standing, and the contribution of each party to acquiring the property.

It’s important to note that property division doesn’t always mean an equal 50/50 split. Instead, the judge will divide the property based on several factors, as mentioned above. This could mean one party receiving a higher percentage of the property than the other.

If you and your spouse are unable to agree on property division, the judge will make the final determination. It’s always better to try to reach an agreement that both parties can live with, but sometimes this isn’t possible.


Divorce can be a difficult experience for anyone involved. It’s a process that requires time, patience, and understanding. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, it’s possible to navigate the complexities of divorce and come out on the other side with your dignity and finances intact.

In Georgia, the process of getting divorced involves several steps. It starts with filing a petition with the court, which is then served to the other spouse. Next, there’s a waiting period and discovery period where both parties disclose all their assets. After that, there are several hearings and negotiations before the final divorce decree is issued.

It’s important to note that divorce laws and procedures can vary by state. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney in your jurisdiction. They can provide you with the necessary guidance and help you make informed decisions throughout the process.

Remember, divorce is a challenging situation, but it’s not the end of the world. With the right mindset and support, you can get through it and come out stronger on the other side.

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